Avoiding the Men’s Mid-Life Crisis

Low testosterone levels may sometimes be to blame for the physical and emotional challenges that aging men must face.

For many men, the midpoint in life brings a great deal of frustration and worry. It’s a period where men first begin to notice their bodies are slowing down. Unwanted physical and emotional changes begin to creep in. Combine these with a general lack of get-up-and-go, and it’s understandable that many grow moody or irritable trying to cope with this new reality.

Often referred to as a mid-life crisis, it used to be viewed purely as a psychological phenomenon, brought on by the realization that the man in question isn’t getting any younger. Traditional remedies, including getting a stylish haircut, adopting a more up-to-date wardrobe, or buying a sporty new car, reflect that way of thinking – cope with the problem by making superficial changes.

But we’ve always known there’s much more going on here than a new car can cure.  Research tells us that there’s a scientific explanation as to why men are feeling tired and moody. And these findings have led to the development of medical treatments that aim to help them cope with this challenging phase in their lives.

What is low testosterone?

One of the reasons why some men may start to experience great physical changes at mid life is because their bodies are beginning to lose a vital hormone called testosterone. Testosterone levels, which begin to rise at puberty and peak around the age of 40, are responsible for the development of masculine physical features, such as facial and body hair, enlarged muscles, deeper voice and sexual maturity.

After 40, however, men naturally begin experiencing a decline in testosterone levels, with some reaching abnormally low levels of testosterone with accompanying symptoms, a condition that is called andropause. Because of the difficulties insufficient testosterone levels can cause, it’s important for men to educate themselves on what is happening during this phase of life as well as explore treatment options now available that help them cope with the severest symptoms.

Dr. Alvaro Morales, a urologist from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., is a leading expert on the cause and treatment of low testosterone in men. He describes testosterone loss as a “clinical and biochemical syndrome characterized by the progressive decline in the production of androgens in the aging male, which translates into the alteration of a number of bodily functions.”

This change, Dr. Morales explains, can manifest itself in a number of ways, especially physically, emotionally and sexually. On the physical front, it can lead to muscle aches, daytime fatigue and a decline in muscle mass. In some cases, osteoporosis can even develop. Emotionally, men with low testosterone may become more irritable and depressed or experience an overall lack of motivation. Sexually, they may suffer a lack of sexual drive, impotence or even erectile dysfunction.

Recognizing the symptoms

While andropause is now an accepted medical condition, estimating how many men live with it is very difficult. Studies vary, according to Dr. Morales, but he guesses that up to 50 percent of the male population could be affected. One of the problems is that the symptoms are not easy to recognize.

“The bodily and emotional changes that men experience may be happen for reasons other than low testosterone,” says Dr. Morales. “Plus, not all men show the same symptoms.”

That’s because testosterone loss occurs over a long periods of time at a gradual, almost imperceptible pace. Because symptoms are slow to develop, it’s not unusual for men who are experiencing them to simply attribute them to “getting old.” This is where the woman’s role becomes so important. She may be better able to observe the changes and can help explain to him what may be occurring. Together, the couple can determine if the emotional, sexual and physical symptoms are severe enough to warrant investigating treatment options.

If you have symptoms of low testosterone (see below), your first step should be a visit to your family doctor. He or she will ask you to provide a complete medical history as well as undergo a physical examination. Next, you’ll be asked to complete a screening questionnaire.

Once these steps are complete, you’ll take a blood test that measures your body’s testosterone levels. If the blood test confirms you have low testosterone, then it’s time to begin discussing the appropriate form of treatment.

Testosterone replacement treatment

Currently, there are four types of testosterone replacement therapies available:

  1. Transdermal patches
  2. Injection
  3. Pills
  4. The latest is a gel which is applied each morning.

The treatment you receive will depend on a number of factors, including convenience and your doctor’s experience of patient preference. Not every man is a candidate for testosterone therapy.

The goal of these treatments is to bring testosterone levels within the normal range, with the aim of improving the patient’s mood, restoring his energy levels and instilling in him a greater sense of well being. Other goals include improving muscle size and strength, strengthening bones and improving sexual desire. The length of treatment will differ for each man and Dr. Morales says the patient’s health during the treatment period is closely monitored.

Dr. Morales is also quick to point out that testosterone replacement therapy is not done to interrupt the natural aging process.

“Yes, aging is unavoidable and unpleasant,” he says. “But if there are things we can to make it more bearable, then we should look into them.”

Dr. Morales also stresses that family physicians are more that capable of recognizing and treating low testosterone. But because they have so many other conditions to monitor, men affected by low testosterone and their partners play an equally important role. By learning about the condition and becoming familiar with its symptoms, they are taking important steps toward securing the man’s overall sense of health and well-being as he travels through a difficult phase of life.

Common symptoms of low testosterone levels


  • loss of muscle size and strength
  • muscle aches
  • increased waistline
  • brittle bones
  • decreased facial and body hair growth
  • daytime tiredness


  • low sex drive
  • decreased quality of erections


  • moodiness or sadness
  • low self esteem
  • irritability or quick to anger
  • lack of motivation
  • difficulty concentrating

This special sponsored feature was produced by the editors of CARPNews 50Plus in co-operation with Solvay Pharma Inc.

12 Responses to “Avoiding the Men’s Mid-Life Crisis”

  • Diane says:

    Have to agree with, and expand a bit on, the comments of Noah (April 23). I think it’s about time we started treating and relating to other people as people, not sex objects or beings primarily focussing on sex. This is largely the fault of media obsession in our age, and in itself is very damaging and blinding! No matter which sex we are (and despite the hype, there are definitely only two – if you doubt that, just take a look down into your underwear)we all need understanding, sympathy and kindness – that should be our main focus, especially as we get older. We all go through these problems, and we must not leave people in isolation. Don’t despair, Noah – there are those who care. I suggest you find a caring fellowship primarily (is there a nearby church group perhaps that can give you some social warmth, for instance?), and speak to a trusted medical treater as well for assistance if needed.

  • Rose Sharon says:

    No, the male midlife crisis does not exist, nor does the female’s. Personality is pretty much set by the late teens and early 20s. But a devastating, not uncommon brain disease called frontotemporal dementia (FTD) tends to strike people in midlife, and is often wrongly called a midlife crisis or mistaken for marital difficulties.

    This horrific disease turns loving spouses into monsters because it initially attacks the frontal lobe. FTD claims people in their prime.

  • noah says:

    why are aging men articles all about sex? women’s articles are all about finding oneself and being ok with their age.

    men at fifty the majority are blue or no collar and have suffered injuries far beyond those of women. getting up in the morning is an effort and bones crack a symphony of pain. The last thing you think about is your boner. The main effort isn’t johnson oriented, but more like how you are going to make it through the day while pretending to GAF.

    Old men live in a lonesome friendless place, like an old horse trying to prove he can work but barely makes it through the day.

    most come home to worn out furniture and worn out hopes.

    When you look back and only see regret, what does the future look like?

    get serious about these discussions, stop writing fluff articles that involve a serious nature It is like telling open heart surgery patients to go bungee jumping.

  • happypants says:

    I’m in my late 40’s, I’m no bodybuilder – but i work out alot. I don’t normally lack energy particularly but, given my age, I know my testosterone levels will inevitably have dropped. I decided to start supplementing the testosterone i lost and i totally noticed difference by using the Dr Max Powers Testosterone Boost. I took my first tablets in the evening. Next morning, I found myself striding around with very definitely increased vim & vigour! My strimmer, which is large & powerful, usually leaves my forearms absolutely knackered after not very many minutes.

    I’ve been taking the Dr Max Powers Testosterone Boost for a week now, without any unpleasant side effects; just definitely increased energy & stamina. I can’t speak for what effect they will have on a younger man, obviously.

  • Tom Tom says:

    Sounds like it’s time for you to ask your husband for a heart-to-heart talk. You need to know how and what he is feeling and he needs to know those things about you. Be loving and king but be proactive.

  • Aldo says:

    Tricia, you are in a difficult place when your man turns from you to porn. That is an addiction that normally gets worse. The best thing you can do first is pray that God deliver him from it.

    Also, you need to communicate with him, letting him know of your love and concern for him, and your willingness to see him delivered from his addiction.

    Also, he needs to get the assistance that will help him.

    There are numerous websites you can go to that will minister to his need. I have included some here. Let’s pray:

    Father God, I lift up Tricia and her husband to You. You know and have heard the cry of Tricia’s heart for her husband. Lord, I ask that You would touch Tricia’s husband with Your Holy Spirit, and cause those pornographic resources he is partaking of to become distasteful to him. Lord, put a desire within him to get the help necessary for him to be delivered from this addiction, in Jesus Name I pray, Amen.


  • Tricia says:

    My husband is 55. He’s so moody and sex has not been as much as before. And I’m noticing he’s getting more involved with porn instead of me. Help

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Does your husband recognize the changes in his emotions and reactions to situations? How do your conversations about this go?

  • Teresa says:

    Hello Jamie. Thank you for responding. It’s pretty much in limbo. We did find out that he has high blood pressure. Not sure if that relates in any way to his behavior.


  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Teresa, I am not sure if Linda is still watching this article. How have things ben going with your husband?

  • Teresa says:

    Hello Linda. I see it’s been a few years since this occurred. Your above comment hit the nail on the head in reference to what is happening to my husband right now. I was just wondering how everything is going now and how did you dele with it?
    I will be waiting for your comment!


  • Linda girl says:

    Thank you for this valuable information on andropause. My husband is almost 52 and he has been experiencing some intence emotional changes. We have been married for 32 years and our relationship has been very healthy. My husband has always been very patient, easy going, and has passive behavior most of the time. In recent months he has been very agitated at times, snapping at me for no reason. I think he has “agitated depression.” He has had some blow ups and frightened me. He also seems to have paranoid thinking at times. He is like a different person. I am sure that he is going through andopause after reading your article. I am 62 and I get very worried about my husbands change in behavior. I will report my concerns to our family MD. My husband will not provide any changes in his health to our MD. Thank you!

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